Because of the frequency of automobile accidents in New York, Brown Chiari LLP handles a number of automobile accident cases. The main thing clients must keep in mind is that New York State is a “no fault” state. This means that regardless of who is at fault for the happening of the accident, your own insurance company – or that of your host driver – will automatically pay your medical bills, a portion of your lost wages, and other enumerated expenses. The rule is a little different for pedestrians or bicyclists: the car that struck you, again regardless of fault, will be responsible for paying your medical bills, wages, and expenses. This is often referred to as basic economic loss. This consists of up to $50,000 per injured person in benefits for the following:
- All necessary doctor or hospital bills and other health service expenses, payable in accordance with fee schedules established or adopted by the New York State Insurance Department.
- 80% of lost wages up to a maximum monthly payment of $2,000 for up to 3 years following the date of the accident.
- Up to $25.00 per day for a period of 1 year from the date of the accident for other reasonable and necessary expenses the injured person may have incurred because of an injury resulting from the accident, such as the cost of hiring a housekeeper or necessary transportation expenses to and from a health service provider.
- A $2,000 death benefit, payable to the estate of the covered person, in addition to the $50,000 coverage available for economic loss described above.
Additional benefits may be owed to you if the policy you purchased with your insurance company included an optional basic economic loss endorsement and/or an additional personal injury protection endorsement. The lawyers at Brown Chiari LLP can more fully explain these coverages to you.
The other key provision of the no fault statute limits your right to sue a negligent driver for non-no-fault covered damages like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent injury, or wages and medical expenses above no-fault payments. The Law states that you may only recover from a negligent driver if you have sustained a “serious injury.” The Law goes on to define serious injury as follows:
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of a body organ, member, function, or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
- A medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature that prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts that constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
The Buffalo car accident lawyers at Brown Chiari LLP deal with this statute daily. Many questions arise over its application, and we continually fight for our clients to expand the benefits that you are entitled to. Meet our accident attorneys.
Additionally, our attorneys are often times able to find other sources of recovery for injuries sustained by our clients in an auto accident. For example, we look to see if there was any defect in the vehicle or roadways that caused or contributed to the accident. Defects in a vehicle can include faulty design, seat belts, seat backs, air bags, tires, rims, or any other system. Defects in the roadway can involve improperly designed roads, improper signage, or improper traffic control devices. We have handled many of these cases over the years and can call on a team of engineering experts to assist us. We thoroughly investigate all aspects of the case and often see that an auto accident case overlaps with another type of case.
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